Naval Dentist Tom Davidson yearned to score a spot in the back seat of one of the fighter planes of the flight group he was assigned to. After patient waiting, his opportunity for a joyride finally came. After landing from the exhilarating experience, he started writing a letter to his family detailing the thrill of flight…but he never finished or sent that letter. Tom shares a deeply personal story about his aviation experience in this episode of The Flight Deck, immersing us in the world of someone on the fringes of military aviation during the Vietnam War and explaining the story of his unfinished letter.
Welcome to the
Flight Deck Podcast
Listen to all of the Museum’s best aviation and aerospace stories on the Flight Deck Podcast, a podcast that makes history personal. Episodes released every other Tuesday. We hope you enjoy it!!
Unbridled wonder. The sort of joy that just seems to radiate out at you. That is the subject of today’s podcast episode, where Museum of Flight President and CEO Matt Hayes takes us back over 100 years to an historic aviation event in Los Angeles, captured in a photo of four women found in our Museum’s digital archives. He talks about the marvels the women may have been witnessing, as this was the first event in the United States where aircraft were really showcased to the masses. Imagine seeing something you’ve not only never seen before but have no mental reference to relate it to. That’s what these four women, and thousands of other spectators who braved a rare LA rain experienced. Take a listen to learn more, and make sure you see the photo for yourself! We could all certainly use a smile.
An aviation conspiracy dating back 100 years continues to capture the imaginations of New Zealanders. What’s the truth behind this story, involving secret caves, military secrets, and the first Boeing airplane? Host Sean Mobley sat down with Museum of Flight Docent Leslie Czechowski to dig into this curious episode of aerospace history which spans continents and centuries.
You may know Alexander Graham Bell for his telephone, but did you know he had a hand in some of the most bizarre, strange-looking experimental aviation designs? Today’s episode is a chat with Museum of Flight Curator Matthew Burchette (of “Curator on the Loose” fame) about these bonkers designs and the adventure of experimentation in the early days of contemporary aviation, when hopeful engineers had bold visions, big ideas, and incorrect understanding of aerodynamics as they put together design after unique design in hopes of being the first to build a successful engine-powered airplane. These designs need to be seen to be believed!
In this final episode of 2020, we welcome author Phil Stamper onto the show for a discussion of adapting space history into fiction for a modern young adult audience, the literary inspirations for his book The Gravity of Us, and the realities LGBTQ+ astronauts faced throughout NASA history from Sally Ride all the way back to the days of Project Mercury.
We think of history in terms of grand, sweeping events and often forget that actual humans are at the center of it. Today’s episode reminds us that people drive history, everyday people like you and me who are swept up or have to react to these larger events. The discussion centers around Mike Caputo, a World War II B-24 Navigator, and his daughter Yvonne, the woman who helped him open up about the wartime experiences he’d hidden deep inside. While helping her father document his story in his own voice, she forged a stronger connection with him that she carries even today after he’s passed away.
It’s common to hear a visitor to The Museum of Flight wonder how astronauts go to the bathroom in space. Today is the continuation of a conversation with Museum of Flight staff member Brenda Mandt, who spearheads the tours of the Museum’s NASA Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer, where she talks about modern space toilets on the Space Shuttle and on the ISS. She also talks about what did and didn’t about toilet and personal care needs when women joined the US space program. As with the previous episode (which you can listen to here), this is a frank and honest conversation about toilets and what goes in them, so listen to learn more but maybe not while you’re snacking.
“How do astronauts go to the bathroom in space?” This is a question we hear often at the Museum, asked by people young and old from all around the world. Host Sean Mobley enlisted Museum of Flight expert Brenda Mandt, one of the masterminds behind the Museum’s NASA Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer Tours, to investigate how humans carry out this universal body function in space. In this first of two episodes, Brenda shares about the early tests and solutions developed for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. They were messy and uncomfortable!
Bill Wilson, a Vietnam Veteran and Museum of Flight Docent, features in this episode of The Flight Deck, sharing his story of bailing out of his crashing General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark just a few miles from Hanoi, the capital of the Communist government of Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. Surrounded by hills, jungle, and enemy combatants, Wilson did everything he could to evade capture long enough for a rescue attempt, a situation made more complicated by the constantly changing weather which foiled efforts to extract him.
Museum of Flight Docent Jerry Coy returns to The Flight Deck to share a story of survival behind enemy lines. When Captain Roger Locher’s McDonnell F-4 Phantom was hit by fire from a Vietnamese MiG-21, he safely bailed out…only to realize he was months away by foot from safety, and was deep in Communist territory, making an air rescue extremely dangerous. In order to extract him, the Air Force would have to essentially “pause” the war. Today’s episode details Locher’s saga deep in the northern reaches of Vietnam.